Between the Lines: Once Upon a Renovation…

Did you hear the story about Jack and the Leaky Dishwasher? That’s a classic. 

Jack and his bride were best of friends, living in apartment after apartment with landlords that varied in niceties, manners and braincells before purchasing their ‘dream home’ on a beautiful spring day one week before a blizzard swept the kingdom. 

And they all lived happily ever after … before an evil dishwasher valve gave way sending bewitched water pooling through hardwood, and cascading down, down, down, deep down through basement ceilings, onto the cold, sad tile below. 

Being an adult

If that sounds like a miserable bedtime story for your eager toddler, that’s because it is. I can’t recall ever being read a fairytale that replaced dragons and princesses with bank tellers, mortgages, insurance claims, and property taxes, but Grimm and Disney and the rest would have been wise to smarten up us kids on the realities – or horrors – of the wonderful world of adulting. 

Nobody bothers to tell you when you’re young, impetuous and impossibly naive that home ownership, and the general act of being an adult, is exhausting, and thirsty work. 

I think back now on the little things I shrugged off and took mercifully for granted in my childhood. Things like turning up the heat because ‘I wasn’t comfortable,’ – or taking extra long showers because who cares about things like hot water – would be replaced with me warden-style guarding my thermostat and hot water output like a stranded man rationing his last drops of water. 

Blissful ignorance

Everything has extra value when you bought it. Everything has the sentimentality, or the knowledge that this cost something. That couch you’re sitting on cost $3,999 on discount, so please, feel free to kick up your mud stained Nikes. Yes, my pool table may be second hand, but it still cost me $500 earned through hard work and TLC, so lay your beer down on the felt without a coaster, why don’tcha. 

Plaster, paint, flooring, shingles, siding, sod, asphalt, light bulbs! All things I once thought inconsequential in that, I was aware of their existence, I appreciated their existence, but they didn’t concern me. My, how I miss those days of blissful ignorance. 

Remember when your money could be put towards vacations or a new video game? A car or laptop? Now we save up for a ‘new roof’ or widening out our driveway. Not exactly Christmas morning levels of excitement. 

‘I’ve got this’

And it’s a privilege to own a home, one to fill with junk and treasure, make memories, welcome friends and grow families. Home is where the heart is, and more times than not, the heartburn.

But that’s just growing up isn’t it? It’s funny, I’m nearer to 30 than 20 and I’m still not sure when the idea that I ‘know what I’m doing’ will glow on me like some cinematic epiphany. I feel I’m destined to live forever coasting on the idea that ‘I’ve got this’. 

All in all, I wouldn’t trade it. The bills, the renos, the leaky ceilings and peeling tiles. It’s not a classic fairytale, but it’s an honest one. Once upon a renovation …

Dillon Collins, The Herald’s Staff Writer, can be reached by emailing [email protected]

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